Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman & Roman Reigns
Raw opened on a shot of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman backstage – meaning they’re finally on Monday nights for the first time since April! I’d forgotten what the Universal title actually looked like! Pretty horrid, actually. I preferred forgetting-
Lesnar’s Summerslam opponent Roman Reigns made his way down to the ring to call them out, but he only got Heyman. And that’s when WWE entered SummerSchlam mode! Because Roman used a naughty word. He’ll be sending Brock back to the UFC not as the Beast… but as Roman Reigns’ bitch. Because he’s the Big Dawg… and that metaphor gets kind of gross if you think about it too much.
This led to a series of genuinely fantastic backstage segments of Brock refusing to go to the ring and just reading an issue of The Backwoodsman – the self-described “magazine for the 21st century frontiersman”. Even when Kurt Angle threatened to fire Heyman, Lesnar either just told Paul to get him a medium well done steak – medium well, what a heel – and eventually yelling at Heyman that they’re not friends.
Baron Corbin beat Finn Balor
The long opening match saw Baron Corbin beat Finn Balor. Sadly it just flattens out both men with 50/50 booking, after Balor’s victory at Extreme Rules.
Alicia Fox beat Natalya
In her official return to Monday Night Raw, Ronda Rousey cut off her best friend Natalya’s entrance music for her own for Natalya’s match. And what you going to do about it, Nattie? That’s right, nothing. Absolutely nothi-
Alicia Fox got the win after Alexa Bliss interfered, so Ronda awesomely beat them both up. Afterwards Kurt booked Ronda vs Fox in Rousey’s first ever match on Raw.
Who Wants To Walk Away From Bobby Lashley?
Promoting his new documentary, Elias insulted Miami’s hometown hero – and most over man of the planet – Rock ‘The Dwayne’ Johnson – fueling speculation of an Elias/Rock feud for WrestleMania 35.
Instead of Rocky, though, we got Bobby Lashley, fresh off his character rebuilding feud against Reigns, a reaffirmed main eventer, Walking Armageddon…
…singing Rocking Robin like an absolute dweeb. Elias hit him with a guitar, and then Bobby fought him off.
After all that Sami Zayn, three beautiful sisters, I love my family mess, you had a Lashley people were finally believing in. So why go back to him being an uninspiring goofball?
Jinder Mahal beat Braun Strowman
Despite Jinder Mahal technically beating Braun Strowman via countout for chasing Owens , WWE pulled that trick where even when Braun loses, Braun wins.
This actually tied in very neatly to Braun and Kevin Owens’ SummerSlam stipulation. Owens will get the Money in the Bank briefcase even on a DQ or countout.
Mojo Rawley Vs. The Undercard
Mojo Rawley cut a demotivational speech to Raw’s undercard locker room. All your favourites were there! Mike Kanellis, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder… even Bobby Roode. Yep, it’s come to this. The once Glorious NXT Champion Bobby Roode is a solid undercarder. Him and Mojo brawled to continue their feud.
Apollo Crews beat Akam
Apollo Crews beat Akam from the Authors of Pain. Yep, it’s come to that, too.
Seth Rollins beat Drew McIntyre
Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre had a great TV match. Which is saying something, because they had Dolph Ziggler’s beautiful hair to contend with at ringside. What products does he use? Every time Seth would get some momentum, Drew would viciously cut him off, until Rollins hit a Curbstomp from outta nowhere. Protecting his meal ticket, Dolph scrambled in and attacked Seth for the DQ. And then again backstage afterwards for good measure.
Roman Reigns Ejected From Building
Reigns didn’t help out his Shield brother, because he was too busy watching Netflix backstage. Kurt and Corbin rudely interrupted, saying to protect the SummerSchlam main event, Reigns was being ejected from the building… but not before punching Baron in the face.
The Revival Beat Deletors Of Worlds
After an in-ring promo with the B Team, The Revival beat the Deletors of Worlds.
Bayley & Sasha Banks beat Riott Squad
Bayley and Sasha Banks now have matching ring gear in place of emotional blood feud rifts – women’s tag division incoming! They beat the Riott Squad.
Brock Lesnar Turns On Paul Heyman
And the main event saw the masterful climax of the night’s backstage Brock segments.
Heyman admitted to Kurt, loose tie and all, that Lesnar isn’t coming out – prompting Angle to cut an impassioned speech on how Brock is the worst Universal Champion of all time. Then Paul agreed, trying to suck up to the General Manager to keep his job. But in a brilliant piece of acting, it was all a rouse, as Heyman’s grin broke out at Brock’s entrance music, for Lesnar to hit an F5 on Angle.
But then Brock turned on Paul too – scrapping the only real shred of humanity Lesnar’s character has left. He grabbed Paul’s face and shoved him to ground, making Brock unlikeable in a nasty heel way, not a ‘I’m sick of you not turning up’ way. And then the strangest thing happened. It wasn’t just the crowd chanting for Roman Reigns… I kind of wanted him to appear and kick Lesnar’s ass too.
While the undercard and tag stuff was throwaway, and the Lashley stuff awful, the Brock vs Reigns booking throughout the night was ingenious. And just for that, I’ve got to give this week’s Raw a very high AvRAWge.